Klease awarded mining pioneer
MODEST CENTRAL QUEENSLAND INDUSTRY WORKER SHOCKED TO RECEIVE TOP GONG FROM RIO TINTO
EXPERIENCED industry worker Cole Klease was lost for words when he won an international award, commending his years of work and dedication to the mining industry.
Mr Klease was awarded Rio Tinto Energy and Minerals Pioneer of the Year 2017 for “his outstanding commitment to underground mine safety and protecting the lives of miners now and in the future”.
Mr Klease said he couldn’t believe he was chosen for the award from thousands of Rio Tinto energy and minerals employees worldwide.
“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” he said.
“I was pleasantly shocked.
“It’s a huge honour, I’m still pinching myself.”
Mr Klease, who now works as a compliance coordinator and fire officer at Kestrel mine near Emerald, has been involved in the mining industry for 39 years.
“I started out as a coal miner, became a deputy in 1983 and worked my way up and became a shift supervisor in 2002,” Mr Klease said.
“I worked as an operations manager with the Queensland Mines Rescue Service from 2007-2012 and then I joined Rio Tinto in late 2012 to present.”
Now Mr Klease’s role involves compliance with emergency responses and evacuations, and working as a statutory fire officer.
On top of taking out the award, which had an international competitor pool, Mr Klease was the maiden winner, with 2018 the first year Rio Tinto has hosted the accolades.
“It’s a great honour, I am very proud to get the award and I am still lost for words,” he said.
“I’m a quiet achiever, I don’t like drawing attention to myself and just go about my work and try to pass on my knowledge and skills of underground work. And if my help has helped one or two persons over the years then I have done my job.”